Respected Dundee painter Penelope Anstice is all set for her first ever solo show at Frames Gallery, Perth – and she has lockdown to thank for it.
The artist, who hails from Glenisla but has been based at the WASPS studios in Dundee for the past decade, will welcome visitors to the opening of her first solo exhibition at Frames Gallery, Perth, on June 12.
And for a nervous-but-excited Penelope, it’s been a year in the making.
“What’s interesting about my show,” she says, “is that it only happened because of Covid. Because the only thing I could do was come into the studio.”
Where Penelope was previously running residential “painting holidays” across Scotland, Spain, Italy and France, lockdown has given her the chance to stay in one place and focus on her own painting.
But where time was granted, freedom to travel was snatched away, and the restrictions forced Penelope to find inspiration in unlikely places.
“People probably know me better for west coast seascapes, but this show is quite a mixture,” she explains.
“I’ve done some still lifes, which I hadn’t painted for years. But because of the cold weather, I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to sit in my studio and paint jugs and flowers!’
As well as taking her work indoors for the first time in a long time, Penelope cast her mind’s eye back to places she’d travelled “before”.
“I have a brother living in Morrocco so I’ve got a few paintings of Morocco, and one of India. And I thought I’d put them in because they’re kind of going back to when we could all travel – going back to before, really.”
But visitors will be able to spot some familiar landscapes from closer to home, too. One of the largest paintings on show is Blue Bridge, featuring the striking landmark in Dundee’s Balgay Park.
“I wasn’t actually going to show that one,” laughs Penelope. “But a friend said, ‘You must put that in’. I love that bridge. And I walk in that park nearly every day.
“I think I’m going to paint that bridge again sometime. It’s amazing – I love the colour, I love the fact they painted it blue. It looks incredible through the trees.”
Indeed, the colour blue is a trademark feature in Penelope’s work – if not her wardrobe.
“It’s funny that I use a lot of blue because it’s not really my colour. I don’t wear a lot of blue!” she says. “But I do seem to paint it a lot.”
Creative frame of mind
As well as the paintings being created during Covid, the frames have been restored and upcycled by Penelope herself, very much in the spirit of lockdown creation.
“There’s a variety of frames as well, lots of different kinds,” Penelope explains. “I’ve used old frames and done them up, so the work isn’t all displayed in matching frames, which is quite interesting.
“It’s very varied – I like that in a show. I can’t wait for it all to be up on the wall now!”
And with the frames being a feature of the exhibition in this way, it seems appropriate that the show is taking place at Frames Gallery in Perth. Now one of Scotland’s most established art galleries, the business started as a framing shop and still offers that service.
Hugh Goring, of Frames Gallery, welcomed Penelope’s exhibition, saying: “Penelope has taken part in several mixed exhibition at Frames Gallery and we felt that it was certainly time for her to have a solo exhibition.
“She is a such a talented and accomplished painter of the landscape. We felt sure that it would be a show that our clients and the public would enjoy seeing.”
Penelope will be welcome visitors in person at the opening on June 12 from 11am-3pm. Free tickets can be booked here for the opening, and walk-ins are welcome after that during opening hours. The exhibition will run until July 10.